Geneva, May 22: The World Council of Churches (WCC) has appealed to the G7 nations to come forward to save the millions of starving population living in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria – all African countries.
The WCC said that not enough is being done to save the lives of the 20 million people who face famine in these nations and among them are 1.4 million children who are at the imminent risk of death unless aid reaches them without any delay.
The global Christian body said that it is the moral duty of the wealthy nations to do all they can to provide life-saving funding and assistance and to work to end the underlying conditions that drive starvation such as conflict, poor governance and climate change.
The WCC organized a global day if prayer to end famine on last Sunday where one billion Christians participated.
The current crisis in these nations is happening against a backdrop of worsening hunger, the WCC said, adding that the number of people needing food assistance has risen by 35 per cent in the last year, from 80 to 108 million people. This appalling statistic flies in the face of global commitments to end poverty and hunger by 2030 and suggests that while things are improving for the vast majority of the world, things are worsening for the already worst off, it said further.
Starvation and hunger have forced the people to migrate from these countries. In East Africa hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing starvation and conflict or displaced across borders into refugee settlements.
Uganda now hosts the world’s largest refugee camp - Bidi Bidi, with more than 270,000 people. Every day thousands more South Sudanese arrive in Uganda, among them hundreds of unaccompanied children whose parents have been lost or killed. Food aid is desperately short.
In Somalia, hundreds of thousands have fled the dry lands where drought has destroyed whole herds of livestock and left villages with nothing to stay for. Aid workers report of mothers losing their children to hunger and thirst on the long trek to find food and water.
Cholera, diarrhea and other diseases are also killing children, their weakened bodies unable to cope with what otherwise is treatable. They and their families are dying silently in remote villages, on the march to find help, or trapped in conflict kill zones, where they are subject to bombings, kidnapping, rape and violence. Children are paying a particularly heavy price.
The last time that the world heard of famine was in 2011, when 260,000 Somalis died - half of them children. The situation is worse now. The UN says it has not seen a humanitarian crisis of this scale since 1945. Even though we know the trajectory of this crisis, the response is far too slow.
This is why this crisis demands inspirational leadership from the G7 heads of state. Their leadership is needed to drive action in three areas, the world Christian organization has said.
The WCC has appealed to the G7 leaders to inspire all governments to stand with the world’s most vulnerable to bring about the same kind of improved prosperity that hundreds of millions of people have already experienced.
The famine crisis we are now witnessing is the death rattle of extreme poverty. It requires the continued political will, engagement and funding of governments and their citizens to end it. Now is the time to save lives and get on with the job of eradicating this scourge, it said.